How should children learn Cantonese
Learning a new language can be daunting. It takes a lot of time and efforts specially for youngsters .Thus,It is important to understand the easiest steps of learning Cantonese for children by understand how they learn a language.
How do children learn new languages ?
According to the research of Dr. Patricia Kuhl,TED trainer,she shares findings about the critical period of a child learning languages is from 2 to 8. Furthermore,it is found that babies who aged under 8 learn one language over another by listening to the humans around them and gather sounds recognition by nature. Lab experiments and brain scans show how 6 months old babies use their brains to get to know the world. One of the most interesting founding. Is interactions and creating a language environment especially for listening and humans reactions are critical factors for young children to learn .They learn mainly by interactions with humans and consistent exposure in that languages with listening how the sounds of Cantonese are like.
What are the efficient ways of children learning Cantonese?
First of all,learning the Romanisation of Cantonese first,do not learn by ear only. There are 6 tones and Yale Romanisation system which was developed for English speakers in Cantonese .
The main core idea for teaching children is to do repetition ,attention and creating an environment that boost the progress. Listening to the sounds of Cantonese like Cantonese cartoons taps ,songs and sounds .Young children learn Cantonese though activities,listening to music, games and reading flash cards.
Listening to songs,watching cartoons in lessons
Thus ,we recommend to use recall taps,watching favorite cartoons in Cantonese version,listening to Cantonese songs with western melody,for instance ,Open Shut them (Dali 2 hoi1 syut3 gwai6 )which is suggested to be taught with topics of food that put in the fridge. They can learn lyrics and melodies of tones of different words by copying and listening the sounds in Cantonese with 4 senses . It is recommended to teach with music moves that matched the lyrics as well.
Cantonese lessons for young leaders should be filled with animated cartoons ,surprises and repetition of pronunciation of vocabularies and phrases they have learnt. Listening to their favourite animated stories is easier for them to focus on what they are learning and repetition of words made it more efficient. For mature and pre-intermediate students ,we can also structure the class with watching videos such as captures of Cantonese cartoon movies with English subtitles . It is for learning general expressions of conversations by practicing dialogues.
Audiobooks and books activities
Cantonese books and audiobooks are great resources for them to learn faster and recognition of sounds of Cantonese. Stories audiobooks and books for kids such as legends,heroes ,world classics, fairytales stories from around the world. For example,The Frozen ,Peppa pig,Toy story based on interests of the child .The way to enhance the learning is to read along with books ,for instance ,My first Animals in Cantonese .
It is profound that listening to audios in both English and Cantonese is efficient . It helps youngsters to distinguish and compare the differences of sounds and recognition of tones in both languages. For younger beginners from 2 to 4 years old. Then ,reading the books to each other and doing role plays into the cartoon character they watched . When it involves more senses when they learn,the knowledge becomes our memory. For beginner level ,we can read Cantonese books to them . For mature children who aged 4 or above 4,reading Cantonese children books and stories would be efficient.They love stories and adventures . Books and rolelay allow them to extend their thinking ,boost the confidence and encouraging their learning.
Playing games with flashcards of images and worksheets that includes pictures,colouring books with numbers ,animas and colours which boost their memory of what they learn is crucial. For instance,matching games ,memory games,playing board games with translating vocabularies on flash cards. It is easy for them to learn it in this way and listening to people who speak that languages ,e.g. teacher and learning Cantonese songs with melody of western songs.
Creating Cantonese environment
Last but not least,to create a Cantonese learning environment at home is simple. It includes playing Cantonese cartoons ,audio books ,music ,videos ,talk with each other in Cantonese and even getting to know Cantonese friends help children to get used to use it in daily life. Through surveys, the most common struggles of learning languages is time and routine.
Once time and routine is scheduled and as long as there are positive compliments and reinforcement for children ,it becomes as easy as it can be !
TED -The linguistic genius of babies-Patricia Kuhl
Recommended Cantonese books with romanisation annotation,Cantonese characters and audio tracks